Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

Last year, I posted some numbers for Memorial Day. Let me update those numbers for this year.

Number killed on 9/11: 2993 (up from 2986 listed last year)

Number of U.S. killed as a result of U.S. military activities since 9/11: 3455 (up from 3091 as of this time last year)
390 U.S. military killed in Afghanistan (
up from 295 as of last year), 2844 U.S. military killed in War on Iraq (up from 2464 as of last year), 398 U.S. civilians (e.g., contractors) killed in Iraq (up from 332 as of last year).

Number of Iraqi civilians killed since War on Iraq began: 64,400-70540 (up from 38,000-42,000 reported last year).
(These figures are critiqued by many as being low estimates. See the Iraqi body count webpage, linked below.)

Sources for the above:

If you find figures that you believe are more accurate than the ones here, please let me know in "comments," and please cite your sources.

Some additional context:

Wars apparently are becoming more and more deadly for civilians. Of the deaths caused by each of the following wars, here are the percentages of those deaths being civilian deaths:

World War I: 14%
World War II: 67%
Wars of the 1980's: 75%
Wars of the 1990's: 90%

(The book those statistics are from is: WAR AND PUBLIC HEALTH, edited by Barry S. Levy and Victor Sidel, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.)

War on Iraq (based on above numbers): 96% (up from 92-94% as of last year) are civilian deaths.

Last year I posted numbers because I was struck by how the number of U.S. citizens killed in the war on Iraq had then just surpassed the number who had died on 9/11. (The number of actual military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq combined had not yet surpassed this number last year, but now it has.)

Now, I know that the War on Iraq is not supposed to be a response to the events of 9/11, but it is defined as part of the War on Terror. We were horrified on 9/11 at the loss of so many innocent lives. When a country goes to war, everyone knows that some of its own soldiers will be killed. If what was horrible about 9/11 was the loss of so many lives, why have we gone on to engage in action that we knew would result in the loss of so many more lives?

And that is not even counting the civilian deaths. Factoring those numbers in shows the tragic toll of war even more graphically. Civilian deaths had gone up from being 14% of all war-related deaths to 90% in the 20th century. Only a few years into the 21st century, we are up to 96% of war-related deaths being deaths of civilians in the War on Iraq.

We have much to mourn.


  1. CS: Thank you for this sobering reminder. One question: Do you have any figures for number of Iraqi non-civilian casualties (police & military)? The figure showing 96% have been civilian victims seems to leave that segment out of the calculation. (Not that it changes the overall picture one jot or tittle!)

    -- Chris M.

  2. Good question. I will look into this.